How an on-set accident victim went from tragedy to advocacy

How an on-set accident victim went from tragedy to advocacy

BURBANK, Calif. — The 2021 death of cinematographer Halina Hutchins while filming “Rust” and ongoing legal battles have once again highlighted the critical issue of safety during filming. But for some, like Joyce Gilliard, the fight for safer groups has been a decade-long quest.


What you need to know

  • Joyce Gilyard was injured while filming “Midnight Rider” in 2014
  • It has been ten years since the crew was struck by a train, killing Sarah Jones
  • There’s been renewed talk about safety on set following the death of cinematographer Halina Hutchins while filming “Rust.”
  • In 2023, Governor Gavin Newsom signed a motion picture safety bill sparked by the “Rust” tragedy.


Gilyard, founder of Industry Safety Awareness for All, has been tirelessly advocating for safer working conditions in the film industry since 2016 after a harrowing experience on the set of “Midnight Rider” in 2014, where a train accident seriously injured Gilyard and left His murder. The life of crewmate Sarah Jones.

Gillard, a hairdresser, was told she would never work again due to her injuries, but despite the physical and emotional toll, she turned her pain into purpose, determined to prevent similar incidents in the future.

“During that period, when the doctors said I would never do hair, I said I needed to do something to promote awareness in the industry,” Gilliard said.

ISAFE, a non-profit organization she founded, focuses on raising awareness through activities such as committees, trainings, and advocacy campaigns. The mission is clear: to ensure every person who works on a film or television set goes home safely at the end of the day.

The loss of Sarah Jones to the same group not only deeply affected her family, but also motivated her father, Richard Jones, to join the fight for safer groups.

“That feeling when you first hear that Sarah is dead, it will never go away,” Jones said. “And it’s always just a fraction of a second away.”

Determined to honor his daughter’s memory, Jones established the Sarah Jones Film Foundation to promote safety on set, and often collaborated with Gilyard. Jones stresses the importance of learning from past tragedies to prevent future tragedies.

“Sarah’s death, Joyce’s injury, Halena Hutchins’ death. All of this, we hope, gives everyone a voice to speak up and say something.

Gilyard echoes this sentiment, emphasizing the importance of community and empowerment in ensuring safety while filming.

“This is our community. We’re all in this together, and we’re here to help each other get through the tough times and always talk. Always be safe. Work. Be safe. Go home,” she said.

In 2023, Governor Gavin Newsom signed the Motion Picture Safety Bill, sparked by the “Rust” tragedy, and established worker safety standards in motion picture production, including mandatory guidelines about the use of firearms and ammunition on film sets.

    (Tags for translation)APP Public Safety

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